If you’re like me, and went to bed last night believing that Manny Machado was a Phillie, then your day today probably began with disappointment that can only be compared with waking up on Christmas morning to find nothing but coal under the tree.
MLB insider Jon Heyman reported that the Dodgers “appear to be the leading contender” for Machado.
That report comes roughly 12 hours after the Orioles and Phillies were believed to have reached a “handshake” agreement on a deal to send Machado to Philadelphia.
There are three distinct possibilities here:
1. The Dodgers upped their bid and offered Baltimore a more impressive package of prospects.
2. The Orioles front office leaked a rumor that the Dodgers made a better offer in an attempt to pry more prospects from Matt Klentak and Andy MacPhail.
3. The Orioles and Phillies “handshake” agreement was over-speculation and there was never such a deal in place.
I think the first two scenarios are the most likely, but either way, the Phillies shouldn’t react to the Orioles attempts to gain leverage.
If previous reports are accurate, then the front office has already offered a considerable package of assets to Baltimore; including Adonis Medina, who is widely considered to be a top-3 prospect in our system, and highly coveted by the Orioles.
If Klentak and company already offered a huge package that includes multiple top-prospects on top of guys like Franco and Eflin, then there’s no reason to ‘up’ that offer and deplete a farm system that took so long to rebuild. I’ve even heard Sixto Sanchez’s name tossed around. I firmly put him on my “untouchable” list in June and I’m not wavering from that position—neither should the Phillies.
If Baltimore landed a deal that was headlined by Sanchez and Medina then it would be considered nothing short of a win for a team that has little to no leverage.
While I am on board with Klentak borrowing the “star hunter” moniker from Brett Brown, there’s no reason for the Phillies to sell the farm for Machado, especially if the Dodgers are the team that trades for him.
If there’s one team who is truly considering adding Machado as a rental, and not a long-term option, it’s Los Angeles. They currently own the highest payroll in baseball, and that number is already due to increase next season with so many players either already under contract or set for arbitration. It’s unlikely that they’ll be willing to commit the $300-400 million that Philly, New York, and Boston will be.
On top of that—unlike the Sox, Yankees, or Phillies—the Dodgers are set at the left side of the infield with Justin Turner at third and 24-year old Corey Seager manning shortstop. The main reason they find themselves in the Machado discussion is because Seager is out for the season with a sprained UCL (Tommy John surgery), and the team is still trying to win a World Series.
Seager is under team control until 2021, and Machado wouldn’t provide much of an upgrade (if any) over the man who has long been pegged the cornerstone of the franchise’s future. So considering both the financial situation, and the roster crunch, it’s hard to see a scenario where the Dodgers are able to re-sign Machado. Dodger executives, media members, and fans have all acknowledged that possibility.
With that in mind, what’s the point of selling the farm if we’ll have a solid chance of signing him over the winter? To chase a ring here in 2018?
If the Sox, or Yankees were the new “leaders” in the Machado race, then I would seriously be considering trading a player like Sixto Sanchez, or a slew of prospects if need be. But that’s not the case.
It’s very likely that these recent reports are nothing more than attempts from the Baltimore front office to increase the offer from Philadelphia, and if that’s the case, the team should stay patient and wait out the all-star break.
If, in fact, the Dodgers are the new favorite to land Machado then I have confidence in the Phillies ability to sign him away in the offseason.
Again, in either scenario the team should be prepared to stay patient and hold at their current offer. Given the information we have right now, there’s simply no reason to sell the farm as some pundits and fans are eagerly suggesting.